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Old 06-27-2018, 04:38 PM   #9
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Join Date: Jun 2017
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Default Re: Was Witness Lee a Calvinist?

Good works are necessary for salvation?

The dictum “goodworks are necessary for salvation” is seen by the Puritans as a theologically valid statement if properly defined. It all depends on how the words “good works”, “necessary”, and “salvation” are understood.

In the Reformed tradition, “good works” here is understood as the holiness of life that is grounded in our union with Christ—thus, it presupposes grace and the reality of our divine adoption. Our good works are no more filthy rags because even our works done in faith are justified from its impurity (says Calvin and Owen).

“Necessary”, consequently, is hereby understood as simply a “necessity of order” not “of merit.” (Again, we also confess that faith is “necessary to salvation”, but we don't certainly mean by that that faith “merits salvation”).

Lastly, “salvation” in that statement above is understood as pertaining to “final glory” or Glorification, not Justification. Goodworks don't precede justification, but they do precede glorification as an ordained pathway or “means” to an end. The important thing to note here is that justification is not all there is to “salvation.” The term salvation or eternal life is equivocated in the Bible itself as pertaining to different stages in the ordo salutis depending on the context.

And we must not also miss the fact that Sanctification and Glorification are not strictly two distinct things, but are in fact one in substance, differing only in their respective degrees. Sanctification is but Glorification initiated, and Glorification is but Sanctification consummated. They relate as seed to a tree. They are one. The seed doesn't merit the tree, but the seed is an indispensable stage in the making of a tree. That is why Galatians 6:7-9 must not be read the way Roman Catholics read merits into it. Paul's illustration of “sowing” (perseverance in Spirit-wrought holiness) and “reaping” (eternal life in glory) in that passage actually implies the fact that the thing sown and the thing reaped are one in substance. The relationship, therefore, is not of merit to a wage, but simply means to an end in the context of “growth.” In that way, the Puritans are able to affirm that holiness of life is both an “evidence” and “means” of salvation. Goodworks evince that glory has already begun, and they at the same time serve as the pathway/means towards its own consummation in final glory.

This is what sets Reformed Theology apart from both Roman Catholicism and its Lutheran counterparts.
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